by Luke, in Uganda
10th December, 2009

Fairly non interesting fact is that about 15years ago I went to Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe and volunteered on a rhino sanctuary. It was a great adventure, four of us who had shaved our heads for black rhinos and were high on the adventures of our first year at University, backpacked around South Africa and Zimbabwe one summer and worked on the national park as part of our overseas extramural study experience. It was my first exposure to African game and I remember quivering in my boots when we stumbled upon a lion who had a fresh kill at its feet, and basically being fairly awed by the big game experience.

Sadly, the head ranger left and his deputy got arrested for stealing, the rhinos all got poached and Zimbabwe went downhill as Mugabe began to choke it relentlessly. Things didn’t quite pan out for that project or that country, but this one in Uganda – where we are today – oozes a lot more potential and has the driving force of Angie behind it who has a steely determination to see it through and succeed.

The Rhino Fund Uganda is on a mission to turn things around. Rhinos were wiped out in Uganda in 1983, the plan of the Rhino Fund is to establish a safe sanctuary for white rhinos (southern ones as the northern population is now in numbers such that genetic viability is impossible) and reintroduce them to the National Parks. To that end they have a 70km square sanctuary that is fiercely patrolled by over 50 rangers and have a breeding population of resident white rhinos. It is proving to be a winner – the second baby was born a couple of weeks ago and is in fact the second baby ever bred in Uganda in a sanctuary. It isn’t only the rhino story that is inspiring though – the bush meat trade where we are is immense. Totally illegal but if I wanted an antelope steak it would take me less than ten minutes drive down the road to buy one. Angie is on a mission to try to conserve the wildlife so has put word out that she will take any babies that are found orphaned as a result of the bush meat trade or indiscriminate snares.

Compensating villagers for handing over baby antelopes has it’s downsides but at least she is doing something and it gives the babies a chance of life – safe sanctuary in her reserve for starters. We rescued two such animals today – totally adorable little creatures which they named Luke and Adam. Goes without saying that Luke is obviously much better looking…
Angies family are great – Chris, Nico and Nico’s girlfriend Tammy are all from South Africa and have made their lives up here in the bush.Very hospitable and good company. Looking forward to tomorrow when we get tracking the rhinos and see what it’s all about.

On other news – Marc is tearing out chunks of his wispy beard due to the fact internet is proving to be such a total nightmare. I think it’s a good individualistic look – his wife may disagree.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment


You must be logged in to post a comment.